Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of a comprehensive health care system called Traditional Chinese Medicine developed in China over 3000 years ago.   The goals of acupuncture and Chinese medicine are to restore and maintain balance in the body, supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

The ancient Chinese identified a complex system of energy that travels through meridians and channels in the whole body – from the surface of the skin, through the muscles, deep into the internal organs and affects every system of the body. They called this vital energy or life force “qi”. When there is an imbalance in the flow or a disruption in the system -which can be caused by accident, injury, overuse, environment, diet, stress, and emotions, among other things – many symptoms can develop leading to illness or disease.

Chinese Medicine is truly holistic because it does not separate out the systems of the body, but instead understands the complex inter-connectedness of all the bodily systems. For example, Chinese medicine theory considers that your poor digestion and chronic colds are related, and that treating both your digestion and immunity simultaneously will be needed to shift your overall health pattern. Beyond that, an acupuncturist understands that the physical, mental, emotional, and environmental are inter-connected and that something like unresolved emotions, an old injury, a challenging environment (such as relationship, work or living situation) can be a cause or contributor to health issues.

Chinese Medicine theory is based on the principle that your body is designed to be in a good state of health and balance, but there are times when it needs outside assistance.  An acupuncturist uses tiny needles to help direct the flow of qi in your body so that your pain and symptoms resolve and your body returns to its regular state of balance.    There are many treatment strategies available (such as channel theory, organ systems theory, external pathogenic factor theory and more) that allow an acupuncturist to treat a wide variety of issues from minor health complaints and muscular-skeletal pain to internal disease states and chronic illness.  An acupuncturist is highly trained in diagnoses and treatment strategy to help you with your health goals, so you do not have to fully understand how it works to receive its benefits.

Modern Chinese Medicine practitioners and acupuncturists are trained in western science and anatomy so have a truly integrated approach to healing.  They can easily understand western diagnoses and treatments, rely on ancient healing techniques and also incorporate cutting-edge information on health and healing.

  • Acupuncture is safe, effective and virtually free of side effects
  • Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own healing capabilities
  • It treats the underlying cause of pain or illness, as well as the symptoms
  • Is effective in preventing illness and promoting well-being
  • Supports health on all levels by treating the body, mind and spirit
  • Is easily incorporated into your existing health care practices
  • Has been tested in many clinical trials and found to be an effective treatment
  • Acupuncture promotes the relaxation response and calms the nervous system
  • Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and other chemicals in the brain related to pain relief and positive mood
  • It stimulates your immune system to combat illness, fight infection and reduce inflammation
  • Regulates various body functions such as digestion and sleep

Acupuncture Is Researched & Professionally Recommended:

Clinical trials on acupuncture show it is effective for back pain, anxiety and depression, osteoarthritis of the knee, neck pain, tennis elbow, headaches/migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia,  heartburn during pregnancy, side effects of chemotherapy, and more.  The World Health Organization has published a review and analysis of the research and created a directory of conditions effectively treated by acupuncture. The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH NCCAM) has also published patient information in support of acupuncture.

Many doctors recommend acupuncture to their patients, and some insurance companies cover acupuncture.

About Qualifications and Licensing of Practitioners:

It’s important to pick your acupuncture provider carefully, and be sure that they are licensed.  To be licensed in the state of Massachusetts an acupuncturist needs to graduate from an accredited acupuncture and Chinese Medicine program with a minimum of 1,905 hours training (this is a master’s degree level program).  Additional requirements include biomedical training in anatomy, physiology, and biology.  Licensed acupuncturists must also pass a national board exam by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).  Licensed acupuncturists are highly trained in point location and function, as well as diagnostic theory of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine.)  This extensive training  allows success in treatment of difficult health issues such as internal disease and chronic health issues,  Other providers may offer “dry needling”, “chiropractic acupuncture” or “medical acupuncture” (such as physical therapists, chiropractors or MD’s) but they are often trained at weekend seminars at or below 200 or 300 hour level.   These providers may offer some relief in addressing muscular-skeletal issues, but are rarely trained in TCM differential diagnoses for treatment of internal diseases or complex health conditions. Most acupuncturists believe it’s important to preserve the integrity of our profession and honor the extensive training required to be fully competent in Chinese Medicine.

FAQ’s About Acupuncture Treatment: 

Some people are nervous to try a new treatment like acupuncture, especially because it involves needles and seems so different than many other treatments. Acupuncture is actually very gentle and relaxing, in addition to being very effective. Many people choose acupuncture as their primary form of preventive and supportive health care.

At your first visit, Lisa will take time to go over your health history and talk about all the areas of your health you would like to work on. She will develop a diagnosis and treatment plan based on her findings. You will lie down on a comfortable treatment table fully clothed or covered to receive your treatment. Lisa will feel your pulse, look at your tongue and palpate some points on your body. She will insert tiny needles into the treatment points, and may add some heat to the points, your belly or feet. You will rest comfortably while your body receives the treatment. After the session Lisa will review the treatment plan and may give you dietary or lifestyle advice.
The needles used are thin, solid, stainless steel needles that are sterile and single-use. Needle insertion may be unnoticeable or feel like a small pinch. After insertion, sensations such as warmth, tingling, or fullness may be felt at the site of the needle or elsewhere in the body.  These are sensations of the qi moving in your body.  Most people feel a deep sense of relaxation once the needles are inserted, and may fall asleep. After the treatment you may feel calm, relaxed, centered and energized.
Based on your individual history, Lisa will recommend the most beneficial course of treatment for you. This will vary depending on how severe the issue is, how long you have had symptoms, and your overall health, energy and commitment to healing. A minimum of four treatments is recommended; eight treatments is an average course. Many people begin to see results in just a few treatments; others require more for full resolution of symptoms. Treatments may be scheduled weekly or less often depending on the condition. As symptoms improve, fewer visits are needed. After the main health issues are addressed, many people choose to include acupuncture as a regular part of their regular health care plan, coming bi-weekly, monthly or seasonally.
You will know treatment is working because you feel better! At first your symptoms may change by becoming less intense or less frequent. You may also notice positive changes in other areas of your health including better sleep, improved digestion, more energy, fewer colds or illnesses, an ability to handle stress better, and a general sense of well-being. Usually within the first 4 treatments you will have noticeable changes. If not, you just may need a bit more time. Lisa may change the treatment plan and/or refer you to another health care practitioner (such as an herbalist, other bodyworker, therapist, MD) to optimize your results.

See a list of health issues that Lisa treats Schedule an appointment or consultation